When I grow up, I want to be like Bob

03/10/18- In case you're wondering about Bob, he's still going strong; came in the other day for a new helmet. Still riding several thousand miles/year too, at 96 years old.

09/24/15 I was going to write about how awful I felt this morning, how it was absolutely the worst-day-ever as far as my breathing is concerned, how Kevin and Marcus just “rode casual” and quickly distanced me up Kings. And then, after getting to the shop and even coffee isn’t doing anything for me… then Bob P comes in to pick up his bike.

That’s Bob, in the picture. And that’s his computer, showing 11,138 miles on it, his total for the past three years (since he last installed a battery). Quite a few miles for an older guy, right? 3,712 miles/year. Almost 100 miles/week. Gets out on a regular basis and rides “The Loop.”

3,712 miles per year. I should feel really good about doing roughly twice that. Of course, his bike is set up differently than mine; more for comfort than for speed. Not the way I’d ride, for sure! In fact, Bob’s riding a converted mountain bike, which is going to be way slower than my machine. He’s probably doing 30% more work than I do. What could he do on a bike like mine?

Well, it’s not too likely a bike like mine would make sense for a guy like Bob; a little bit more stability might not be so bad, because, here’s the thing, Bob is… get ready for this… in two months, he’ll be 94. He’s not acting like any 94 year old I’ve ever known. If he were on Strava, he’d kill his age group. And he’d do it with respectable times too! His average speed, including stops, is about 12 miles per hour.

When I grow up, I want to be like Bob.

Bob, the amazing almost-94-year-old cyclistCheck the computer. 11,381 miles. Battery installed 3 years ago. 3,712 miles/year. Check the guy. You'd never guess his age.

Are you riding the right bike? How do you tell?

(Post from the archives) Many people, perhaps most, aren't riding the right bike. How can you can tell? Could be because you're not on it right now. Do you look for reasons to ride someplace? Or do you drive because it's more convenient?

I bring this up because this morning my daughter, who works in our Redwood City store, had to drive to work today (ear infection so she's been told not to ride, and, unlike me, she's sensible and does what the doctor says). It would be super-easy to just get in the car with her and go to work, and later drive home. Avoid the 400ft climb home and having to take a shower before dinner.

Umm... no. I'd much rather ride. I feel alive on my bike. It fits great, it feels like it wants to fly with every pedal stroke. My mind is engaged as I share the road with others, whereas in a car I'd be in drone mode.

On my commute home I often tell myself that I'm going to take it easy, but after the first two stop lights you get to are green, it's inevitably all-systems-go for a fast ride home. My bike expects this. It's dark, but I'm lit up with two tail lights, two headlights. Cars see me from a distance, and I live for that sound of car tires over bots dots that tells me they're moving over to give me room. A long day at work and my bike has put me in the zone.

I get home breathless (I live at the end of that 400ft climb) and I'm still breathing hard when I enter the house. My wife asks if I'm OK, and I'm thinking, day after day, this is what I am, this is what my bike and I do, I'm not only OK but I'm alive.

So what is the "right bike?" It's the bike that you can't walk past without wanting to get out and ride. It's the bike that you go out on a 70 mile ride earlier in the day and then later you might be running errands in a car, seeing other bikes on the road, and asking why you're not out riding. What makes such a bike so special? It's the way it just seems to become a part of you when you're on it. The feeling that IronMan gets when he puts on his suit. Maybe it's super-light, maybe it's got a custom paint job, maybe you live for that perfectly-shifting gear change you get with electric Di2 shifting.

It doesn't have to be a fast high-end road bike. It might be a hybrid commuter, or a beautifully-styled cruiser. It could be a kid's first bike. But I'd be really happy if it's a Trek (or an Electra if a cruiser) from Chain Reaction, because that means we didn't just sell a bike... we helped create a happier, healthier bike-person.

So where should you buy your next bike? From us, of course, because this is the dream we live for. If you just want to buy a bike because it's the thing to do and everyone else has one, and it's just going to sit around like so many other short-term "seemed like a good idea at the time" things, well, there's lots of places for that. It would be a failure on my part for that to happen. But if you want to risk a life-changing experience, come to us. That's what we live for.   --Mike Jacoubowsky, Partner, Chain Reaction Bicycles

Chain Reaction Bicycles is your local bicycle shop for the San Francisco Bay Area! Unlike some other shops, we are dedicated 100% to serving the needs of local cyclists; our offerings are exclusively available for in-store pickup. You will find us at 1451 El Camino Real, Redwood City CA, 94063. 650 366 7130. Our Los Altos location closed on September 24th, 2017; we have consolidated all operations within our Redwood City flagship store.  Our hours and directions may be found here. We look forward to taking care of all of your cycling needs, including service! Mike & Steve Jacoubowsky, Partners, Chain Reaction Bicycles. Serving you since 1980!